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Understanding 'Toner Low' Messaging

Document ID:HO3476

Usergroup :External
03/06/15 Properties  


Affected Products:

Single-Function: All Colored and Mono Lexmark SFP Devices

Multifunction: All Colored and Mono Lexmark MFP Devices


Issue Description:

Most Lexmark laser printers include a 'Toner Low' warning system. It informs customers that a replacement toner cartridge will soon be required.
In most cases, you can continue using the printer while this message is displayed.

When the 'Toner Low' warning first appears, the toner cartridge is typically down to its last ten percent of toner.
The indicator level for this error can vary depending on printer model, the capacity rating of the installed cartridge, and with customer usage.
For this reason, Lexmark does not claim a specific percentage of toner remaining or quantity of pages remaining at which the 'Toner Low' warning will appear.

For a more information about the standards that Lexmark follows to measure the yield variability of its toners, please see the discussion on ISO Page Yields.

Interpreting Toner Low Message on Lexmark E260 and MS31x Models

Lexmark E260, MS310, MS312, & MS315 printer models feature six lights on their control panels. These lights can be on, off, blinking, or blinking slowly, depending on the message the printer is programmed to convey.
If your printer control panel light sequence matches the light sequence in the subsequent illustrations, then you may need to order a toner cartridge. If necessary, press  or on the printer control panel to continue printing.

For Lexmark E260

Light Sequence Interpretation
Cartridge low

For Lexmark MS310, MS312, & MS315 

Light Sequence Interpretation
Cartridge low
Cartridge nearly low
Cartridge very low


What to Do

When you receive a 'Toner Low' message, confirm that you have an extra toner cartridge in stock. If not, you should immediately order a new cartridge.
Note: It is recommended that customers with 'critical use' applications always keep a spare toner cartridge in stock.

You can choose to replace the toner cartridge when the 'Toner Low' message appears, or you can wait until the print begins to fade. If the print fades and you do not have an extra cartridge in stock, you can perform the following steps.

  1. Remove the toner cartridge from the printer.
  2. Firmly and carefully shake the toner cartridge from side to side and from front to back several times. This will redistribute the remaining toner.
    Note: It is recommended to perform this step over a trash can or a sheet of paper to catch and dispose of any loose toner.
  3. Reinsert the toner cartridge and continue printing. You may need to press the Continue button to be able to resume printing.
  4. You can repeat these steps as often as necessary. If the print remains faded after you have performed these steps, you will need to replace the toner cartridge.



If you replace the toner cartridge and the 'Toner Low' message remains, the printer may need to be reset.
To do so, power off the printer. Let it sit 20 to 40 seconds, then power it back on. If the 'Toner Low' message does not appear on power-up, try printing again.

If the 'Toner Low' message returns on power-up or when printing, confirm the following:

  • The toner cartridge you just installed is a brand new toner cartridge and not a used one.
  • The toner cartridge is an original Lexmark brand toner cartridge. Cartridges manufactured by a third party may not be compatible with the printer.
    If a third-party cartridge is causing this issue, contact the point of purchase for additional support or replacement of the toner cartridge.
  • The toner cartridge has not been refilled or refurbished by a third party. If it has, contact the place where it was refilled to have it replaced.


Still Need Help?

Should you confirm all the above and the 'Toner Low' message remains, have the following available when calling Lexmark Technical Support;

  • Printer model(s)
  • Printer serial number
  • Toner/imaging unit/waste toner bottle part number and serial number 


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